1204_Maintenance-pic1The recommended printer maintenance information for our best-selling PrismJET VJ48 and Mutoh ValueJET VJ 1204 Printers currently consists of several articles in our extensive Tech Support Knowledge Base. To make it easier for you to take proper care of your printer, we have consolidated all of those into one easy to follow guide with links to the Knowledge Base for detailed instructions and illustrations.

Maintaining your printer properly is just like taking proper care of your car. If you change the oil regularly and follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, you’ll get many years and miles out of your car. Likewise following these guidelines will yield many years and miles of profitable printing. Here’s what you need to do.

Regular Daily or Weekly Maintenance

Some tasks that need to be performed more frequently than others. To help you organize your VJ48 to-do list, let’s take them in order beginning with the daily or weekly tasks. These are things you should do regularly to keep your printer in tip-top shape.

The most important thing you can do to keep your printer running smoothly is to print. Anything. The most damaging thing you can do is leave it idle for extended periods of time. We recommend printing something every other day, even if it’s just a nozzle check and test pattern. This keeps the ink flowing nicely and prevents the rubber seals between the head and capping station from deforming or hardening. If you know you’re not going to be able to use your PrismJET VJ48 for a few weeks, it’s a good idea to fill it with cleaning solution during the downtime. This is done using a set of cleaning cartridges and the Longstore command in the control panel menu.

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Fig 1: A Test Print can be sent from the RIP software with just a few mouse clicks.

• Test Patterns and Nozzle checks: The best way to keep your printer healthy is to print a test pattern. This uses enough ink to flush the heads but not enough to negatively impact operating costs. This is generated from your FlexiSign PRO or FlexiPRINT RIP software. Open production manager, right click on the printer and, from the fly-out menu, select Test Print (Fig 1).

Although it doesn’t produce as much ink as a Test Print, a nozzle check is another important indicator of your printer’s condition. Printing a nozzle check is easy as falling off a log. Just press the left arrow button on the control panel and hold it for two seconds. Presto, instant nozzle check! This is not only an easy way to push ink through the head, but it’s an important indicator of the condition of the head. Make sure all the nozzles are firing correctly before moving on to the next task. If they’re not, perform a head cleaning to try to flush any clogs from the nozzles.

• Cleaning Cycles: Running a cleaning cycle is just as easy as printing a nozzle check. press and hold the right arrow button for two seconds to initiate a cleaning cycle. The print another nozzle check and inspect the outcome. If the nozzles remain clogged after two cleanings, you may need to perform a powerful cleaning. This is done from the Menu. You can choose from normal, powerful cleaning or “little charge” which forces even more ink through the head. Click here for instructions on initiating and selecting cleaning cycle.

• Auto Cleaning. During normal use, your PrismJET VJ48 can be programmed to run cleaning cycles automatically. This also prevents clogging and is highly recommended. During idle time, the printer will periodically run a normal cleaning according to the frequency you determine. In order for the auto cleaning function to work, the printer must be left powered on when not in use. There’s a caution here. Don’t rely entirely on auto-cleaning to keep your head in good condition. You still need to fire the head periodically and run a nozzle check or Test pattern every few days, as noted above. Auto cleaning is just a nice backup. Click here to view the steps for setting the Auto-Cleaning intervals

• Clean around the print head. All the cleaning cycles mentioned above are head cleanings performed by the printer. They only clean clogged nozzles, In addition to cleaning the nozzles, it is important to clean ink residue from around the print head. This is a manual process that should be done weekly. Here’s how (see Weekly Maintenance).

• Cleaning the Cap Top: Once or twice a week during normal use, you should use a foam pad and some MUTOH Eco Ultra cleaning solution to remove ink residue from around the rubber seals around the top of the maintenance station, also known as the cap top. Keeping the cap top clean ensures a good seal is maintained between the cap top and print head. Do not touch the Rubber Cap . Oil from your hands may prevent the cap from sealing properly.

Variable Maintenance

There are some tasks that will need to be done more frequently depending on printer use. Simply put, the more ink you run through it, the messier it gets and the more frequently you’ll need to clean it. So these tasks are the ones you’ll do more or less frequently depending on use.

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Fig 2: Cleaning the wiper is an essential part of maintaining your printer

• Cleaning the Wiper; This is the tiny little squeegee that cleans the print head. But there’s no tinier little squeegee to clean this little squeegee, so you have to clean it manually. The more you print, the faster it gets gunky and the more frequently you’ll need to clean it. Fortunately, it only takes a couple of minutes. Click here for detailed instructions (see Daily Maintenance).

• Emptying and resetting the Waste Ink Tank; During cleaning cycles, ink is pulled through the maintenance station down into the waste ink tank. Eventually, the waste ink tank will need to be emptied or replaced. How do you know when to do this? The printer will tell you to. As the tank fills, a “Near Full Waste Ink Tank” warning will appear on the printer’s LCD control panel. This prompts you to order some replacement ink pads for the tray above the tank. When the tank is full, a “Full Waste Ink Tank” message will appear, prompting you to replace the pads and empty, then reset the tank. Click here for detailed instructions.

Monthly or Quarterly Maintenance

Cleaning the Bearing Raceway & Encoder Strip. Over time dust and dirt, ink overspray, and grease can build up resulting in premature wear of carriage bearings and carriage assemblies. If you run your printer 6 to 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, this maintenance should be done monthly. More frequent use may require more frequent maintenance. You’ll need a clean Lint-free cloth and a foam applicator swab, (both of which are available in our 1204 Maintenance Kit), and some isopropyl alcohol, silicone spray lubricant or 3-in-one oil. Here’s how.

So there you have an easy to follow maintenance guide for your PrismJET VJ48 or MUTOH ValueJet 1204. It’s easy to protect your investment, and ensure years of trouble-free use and 100,000 miles worth of signs and banners, give or take a decal or two. And you don’t even have to bring it in for an oil change.

Related Article: PrismJet 48/ VJ-1204 Periodic Services
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